The internet has changed everything from the way we work to the way we play, to the way we live. It seems that there’s a corner of the internet for everyone, despite what interests you have, despite what your beliefs are there’s someone or something out there that thinks the same way that you do. The internet has connected us in ways that were never before imagined. It’s a place where everyone from anywhere on earth can come together. There is so much stuff on the internet most of which you don’t even know exists. If you want something, anything whether it be a service or product legal or illegal or immoral or unethical, the internet has it, you can choose to use this for good or bad.
Much like the surface web that we all use every single day, the dark web is full of websites and forums and services that we can use but it’s hidden under a layer of protection. Under the surface lies the nest of dark and hidden activities that are blocked off from the rest of the world. The dark web is the haven for the illegal online activity and it goes deep, much deeper than you might imagine. Its place where criminals, predators, spies, drug and even human traffickers lie. And it’s all hidden in plain sight you could access it in minutes if you wanted. But should you?
You could breakdown the internet into three separate categories. First off we have the SURFACE WEB – this is everything you use on a daily basis. YouTube, Twitter any social media at all. It’s all a part of what we call the World Wide Web. It’s relatively easy to find anything on the surface web as almost everything is indexed by search engines like Google. Every second over 1,000 photos are posted on Instagram, 8,000 tweets are posted on Twitter, 70,000 Google searches take place and nearly 100,000 YouTube videos are watched. From this the surface web seems massive and in a way it is in terms of pure traffic almost everything you do can be found here. You could look up anyone and find some kind of information about them and their life. What were you can’t find our things like their bank account or medical records these things are hidden under password-protected websites, where only they can access them.
This is where we venture into the DEEP WEB.
The Deep Web refers to the content on the internet that is not indexed by search engines. Basically, if you can’t find it on Google, it’s technically on the Deep Web. If you’ve ever logged into your email, you’ve browsed the Deep Web technically. So, Deep Web is simply the sites you access with passwords, example Email, Internet Banking, Cloud Storage and much more. I know it might be a little disappointing that the Deep Web is not as cool as it sounds. It’s pretty much just as mundane as the surface web both just a bit more secrecy.
But realize that the Deep Web is the most massive part of the internet. The Deep Web contains 96% of everything there is on the internet so even if you got online every single day and search the new websites for the next 50 years, you wouldn’t even put a dent into the pure amount of information there is on the internet. There’s just too much to go through most of which you couldn’t even get access to but even further it deeper than the Deep Web in the tiniest sliver of the internet was the part of the web where things don’t leave Websites that are encrypted to hide their existence sites without IP addresses to make them nearly unrecognizable access by users with encrypted software to completely mask their identities hear anything and everything goes we’ve reached the DARK WEB.
But how does this even work? How can you hide from the rest of the world on something that pretty much everyone has access to? If you’re browsing, the surface web chances are the FBI man was watching you. All right, not really but for the average person, everything you do online can be tracked, many websites will track what you’re searching and looking at and in turn advertise products or services to you that fit that description. This isn’t anything new Facebook, Amazon and most social media sites are guilty of this. They sell your data to advertisers around the world and you agreed to it in those terms and conditions that you didn’t read. This isn’t a coincidence in this doesn’t happen by accident.
The internet wasn’t made to be anonymous some people see this as an invasion of privacy others don’t see a problem with it at all. But how far can we let this go before it turns bad? Funny enough the United States government thought this to over 20 years ago. They wanted a system that could protect their Communications while online since the internet wasn’t designed for everyone and everything to remain anonymous in a way anyone could intercept the Transmissions while they were being relayed in this was unacceptable. So in the mid-1990s researchers at the US Naval research laboratory began working on something called onion routing.
Onion routing protects any data sent by essentially wrapping it with multiple layers of encryption where the innermost layer contains the original message.
Look at it like this. Let’s say you need to get a message from A to E. But in order to get that message to the end, you have to go through three midpoints. We’ll call them B, C and D. The Message is then wrapped in three layers of encryption each layer only knows where the message previously came from and where to send it next, nothing else. So the message or whatever data that was originally sent remains hidden and each midpoint a layer of encryption is stripped and the new layers information tells it where to send the message to next eventually after travelling through all the points the final layer is stripped and the message is revealed this type of encryption allows for data to be sent to and from multiple places without it being vulnerable.
With this, no one else can see the transmission only those who are supposed to can see. Because of onion routing, darknets like TOR can exists. Darknets operated alongside networks, like the internet. But, it will require certain software to access. TOR stands for The Onion Router. It’s a software named after the technology that made it possible. It seems just like any other normal web browser but through Tor and other similar darknets, you can access web pages that aren’t available to the General Public. The tools and requirements needed to access the dark web is enough to attract different types of users from all around the world. Links to pages don’t look like youtube.com. They don’t look familiar whatsoever instead. They tend to look like random strings of characters and they not have dot-com, dot-org, but they have dot-onion. If you attempt to access these websites through any traditional web browser, it’s not going to work.
But with TOR, it will work, This is your first step into Dark Web. This is like a hidden wiki and you can taste a list of hundreds of different hidden Services. You can find on the dark web. You can find fake US driver’s licenses and passports. You can find illegal weapons. You can find drugs. It’s all here and we’re barely scratching the surface just like on the surface web marketplaces are extremely popular on the dark web here. You can buy things that you may struggle to get elsewhere. Now I don’t condone you doing any of this. What if you wanted to purchase things from sites on the dark web. Here’s how you would do it. Using traditional forms of payment on the dark web doesn’t make much sense using things such as credit cards can easily be tracked taking the end and enmity of things away. This is where Bitcoin comes in, due to Bitcoins almost anonymous nature it is used alongside other cryptocurrencies and is pivotal in running any Anonymous Marketplace. Create a Bitcoin wallet and exchange some of your cash for Bitcoin.
Silk Road and Bitcoin
One of the first things that comes to people’s minds from the dark web is mentioned or the fast amount of sites selling illegal drugs and similar items. And yeah, those are real in 2011 a darknet market known as Silk Road open for business. It’s since become almost synonymous with the dark web. Here you can buy any illegal drug you’ve ever dreamed of Sellers from all over the world so things from we did cocaine from DMT to LSD if drugs aren’t your thing. They also sold things like guns. Counterfeit cash and some books and closes well, but after only two years in operation the site was seized by the FBI and taken down in October 2013 over the course of only two years 2011 to 2013 Silk Road generated over 9.5 million Bitcoin in Revenue now stretching this a bit. If you sold these Bitcoin at the peak of its price in 2017, which is roughly $20,000. Silk Roads total revenue would amount to over 187 billion dollars in just two years.
Silk Road and other dark web markets actually played a pretty big hand in the rise of Bitcoin. In 2011, when Silk Road was created bitcoin was valued at less than a dollar. But because the dark web pretty much requires decentralized cryptocurrency. Bitcoin was a perfect choice, to be honest, Bitcoin wouldn’t be where it is today without a bit of illegal activity.
The Creator of Silk Road Ross Ulbricht was found and arrested in 2013, which was ultimately the reason the site was taken down. He was given two life sentences plus 40 years in prison without a chance for parole.
Illicit Services in Dark Web
Even if you never visit the dark web, if you didn’t even know it existed, it still affects you it’s not uncommon to see data leaks and breaches pretty often nowadays. If your data was stored in a company’s database that was compromised. There’s a chance for sales somewhere on the dark web or it could be purchased by anyone with access to it. If you don’t know where to spend your money on yet, let me help you out Social Security numbers can go for as little as a dollar. This is something given to every single US citizen and can be used to steal. Someone else’s identity botnets are also pretty cheap for as little as a few dollars an hour. You can perform a distributed denial of service or DDOS attack to essentially take almost any website or service temporarily offline. These botnets can severely affect anyone or any business that is targeted if you’ve ever played video games on Line before someone’s probably done this to you. You can also buy someone’s medical records for as low as $50. There’s also stolen credit cards for sale as well. Just buy one rack up the bill and then never pay it. A lot of this data isn’t even for sale. It’s just out there their websites leaking the information of politicians celebrities and even normal people like you and I and there’s not much you can really do about it. But even worse than this there are some even darker things that could be carried out on the dark web.
There are multiple Hitmen Services claiming to be able to kill almost anyone in the world you want for as little as $5,000 many of these have been revealed to be scams, but not all of them. But even though these may be scams the fact that there are people out there who trust random people on the internet to carry out real murders is concerning to see the least. There’s also Services selling real human organs how they acquired. These will never know.
This is only a small look into this deep and dark corner of the internet the lack of rules here allows anything to exist the deeper you go the scarier things you’ll find but yet despite all of these things that exist on the dark web. Roughly half of all the funding for tour still comes from the United States government, which is actually astounding when you consider the reputation that the dark web has a lot of people that have been arrested and thrown in prison for illegal activities on the dark web don’t even seem physically threatening whatsoever.
The dark web is portrayed as the vast criminal underground where millions of the worst people in society lurk. And while this is partly true, it’s not entirely that it’s been cleaned that there’s only around 2 to 10,000 of these hidden services in the dark wood with only a little over half of them being deemed illicit content.
But then again these numbers cannot be taken as fact because well-hidden services are by design meant to be hidden out of these few thousand websites only less than 6% of people. Use Tor actually used these hidden Services that’s less than 120 thousand people out of the billions of people who use the internet a hundred thousand used the dark web as of the billions of websites that exist. A few thousand of them are deemed and illicit. This is just a drop of water in the ocean. There’s no surprise that not everyone in the world is as genuine as they may see, but that’s the gamble you take. That’s the price you pay for this. Well, those darkest parts of the web exists other parts exist to help the rest of the world plenty of countries around the world censor internet content that is deemed to be obscene by a higher power. Typically government’s dark web provides a Haven where none of the censorship exists providing the truth in many situations that people otherwise would have never seen it gives people a place to truly speaking.
And report on things that are important without fear of censorship or even physical threats many of the largest news networks. Operate dark web services to allow people to come forward with information without the fear of being caught or publicly ridiculed. But to be honest, everyone puts their entire lives on the internet at this point 10 or 15 years ago. This would have been absurd and quite frankly stupid, but now it seems pretty normal in a way. We’re slowly giving up internet privacy, but the dark Web kind of protects that it gives people a way to take their privacy and anonymity back whether they use this in a positive or negative way is up to them.
It all depends on how you view it and how open you are two interpretations. The dark web doesn’t have to be a terrible place. It’s only scary if you go looking for things that you don’t want to see. You can’t necessarily get rid of them, but you can’t avoid them. There are some things that the average person just shouldn’t see. If you don’t want to fall victim to this then stay away from the dark web, If this is the first time you’re hearing about it. You probably don’t know what you’re getting into. And once you’re in you aren’t leaving.